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Profile Earnest Robinson

Earnest Robinson

Types of resumes: choose the right type to land an interview

Resume & CV's

Types of resumes: choose the right type to land an interview!

Artwork by: Yulia Mrachnenko

  • What are the three main types of resumes?
  • Five non-traditional resume types and formats
  • Key takeaways

Are you confused with the many different resume types? Knowing the different types of resume formats can help you choose the best one to land that coveted job interview. Keep reading and learn everything there is to know about choosing the right type of resume for your particular job-search situation.

There are hundreds of thousands of people applying for jobs all across the U.S. annually. As a job seeker, you must stand out from your competition, which starts with an effective resume. It’s your unique selling tool that promotes your skills and experience while grabbing the attention of the reader in the six seconds of allotted review time.

 Here are some stats to be aware of when starting your job search.

- For one open position, 250 people will submit a resume.

- Only four to six of those applicants will be interviewed.

- 11 Interesting Hiring Statistics You Should Know |

- On average, about 24% of hiring managers will spend fewer than 30 seconds reviewing a resume. 

- Only about 25% of resumes get past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to be screened by a human.

- Candidates who use professional resume writers improve their hiring chances by 32%.

- 83 Must-Know Resume Statistics: 2023 Data on Length, Cover Letters & Valuable Skills |

Don’t feel overwhelmed or frightened by the numbers. Creating an effective resume that is appropriate to your field, industry, needs, and job description will help you overcome the stats listed above.

The resume is no longer the one page, one format document that you can send off to a recruiter and expect a response the following day. Today’s job seekers must choose the right resume type and optimize it to get past the applicant tracking systems. 

Applicant Tracking Systems are a crucial part of modern hiring. To get through the keyword scanners you should tailor your application. Just using keywords isn’t enough, you have to also use them in context - using the sentences and bullet points to prove you know what you’re talking about.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • What are the three main types of resumes?

  • What are five nontraditional resumes?

The right type of resume will increase your chances of getting an interview and ultimately landing the perfect job by showcasing your qualifications in the proper format.

What are the three main types of resumes?

The conventional resume, also known as the traditional resume, is made up of specific information. Typically, the traditional resume will consist of:

  • Header (name and contact information)

  • Summary

  • Work experience

  • Accomplishments and achievements

  • Education

  • Skills

But how the information is presented may be different in each of the three main types of resumes. That’s why it’s key to know each of their purposes and when to use them.  

Let’s take a look at the three main traditional resume formats.

1. Chronological resume

The reverse chronological resume, or the chronological resume as it is better known, is the resume type that most recruiters are used to seeing and prefer. The reverse chronological resume gets its name because the content is written in reverse chronological order starting with the job seeker’s most current experience followed by the next previous experience, and so on and so on. 


The chronological resume focuses on the job seeker’s work experience and allows the reader to easily spot career progression.


  • Most commonly used

  • Recruiters prefer

  • Highlights experience

  • Shows progression

  • Best for ATS


  • Draws attention to employment gaps

  • Not suited for every job seeker

  • Not best for those entering the workforce or changing careers

Who should use a chronological resume?

  • Those with a steady work history

  • Those with few to no employment gaps

  • Those whose career goals are in line with the open position

  • Those with mid, senior, and executive-level experience

2. Functional resume

The functional resume (also known as a skill-based resume) is the least liked resume style for recruiters. The structure of the functional resume puts the job seeker’s work history below the skills and expertise section inside the resume.

In the article, Should You Use a Skills-Based Resume, Garland Brewster writes, “Skills-based resumes are superb for people that have a lot of education, formal training, and certifications. Putting your skills up front makes your abilities the focal point of your resume.”


The functional resume focuses on the job seekers’ expertise and accomplishments along with their transferable skills as opposed to focusing on the work history.


  • Focus is placed on transferable skills

  • Allows the job seeker to target and write directly to the job description

  • Highlights expertise and skills as related to the job description


  • The least-liked resume style by recruiters

  • Looks as if the job seeker is hiding inexperience

  • Looks as if the job seeker is hiding gaps in employment

  • Not the best when it comes to the ATS

Who should use a functional resume?

  • Those new to the workforce

  • Those with large or multiple gaps in employment

  • Those changing careers with little to no direct work experience

3. Combination resume

The combination resume is just what the name implies: it is a mix between the chronological resume and the functional resume. When it comes to the combination resume, you will list your skills and accomplishments and then your work experience in reverse chronological order.


The purpose of the combination resume is to allow the job seeker to detail their skills and experience with support from their work history and tailor the resume to the specific job description.

Ashley Roepel, a writer for, has this to say about the combination resume in the article How Best to Explain Employment Gaps on a Resume, “A combination resume format may be a good choice. This combines the accomplishment highlights of a functional resume, while still having a chronological list of jobs. This will draw more attention to your career history as a whole, and less to individual dates.” 


  • A mix between a chronological resume and a functional resume

  • Shows progression

  • Allows the job seeker to target and write directly to the job description

  • Highlights skills, experience, and expertise as related to the job description


  • Gaps in employment may be easy to spot

Who should use a combination resume?

  • Those looking to make a career change

  • Those who have extensive experience/subject matter expert (SME)

Expert Tip

The right resume type that is also ATS optimized will increase your ability to get in front of more hiring managers. can help you create that winning resume.

Five non-traditional resume types and formats

Unlike the traditional resume that consists of a job seeker’s skills, experience, accomplishments, and education, a nontraditional resume will include all that and more. A nontraditional resume provides the job seeker a larger arsenal to promote their personal brand.

Types of nontraditional resumes include:

  1. Infographic

  2. Mini

  3. Portfolio

  4. Targeted

  5. Video

1. Infographic resume

An infographic resume, also known as a visual resume, is an image-focused resume. Instead of using blocks of words, the infographic resume relies on images such as bars, graphs, and charts to tell the job seeker’s story.


The purpose of the infographic resume is to give the reader a visual view of the applicant’s accomplishments, achievements, and work experience.


  • Gives the reader a quick and easy view of the applicant’s skills and accomplishments

  • Visually appealing

  • Gives the candidate a competitive edge


  • May not be best for ATS

  • Not traditional and not accepted by all employers

  • Not meant for all job seekers

Who should use an infographic resume?

  • Those in creative fields/industries

  • Great for online branding (i.e., personal website, LinkedIn profile, and online portfolio)

2.  Mini resume 

A mini resume is just what the name suggests. It is a compacted version of a standard resume. The mini resume is a cross between a standard resume and a business card. The mini resume is brief and only contains the most important qualifications and accomplishments of the job seeker.


The mini resume provides the reader with a quick snapshot of the job seeker’s career accomplishments. It highlights the candidates’ skills and strengths and is ideal for networking events.


  • Gives the reader a quick and easy view of the applicant’s skills and accomplishments

  • It is the size of a business card


  • Does not provide a detailed look at the job seeker’s career history, education, or achievements

Who should use a mini resume?

  • Anyone attending a job fair, meeting, or networking event

3.  Portfolio Resume

A portfolio resume is a traditional resume that includes samples of your work, typically displayed in an online format.


Where the traditional resume lists the job seeker’s work experience, accomplishments, and achievements, the portfolio resume goes much deeper by giving the reader examples of past work experience that illustrate your skills and display your qualifications.


  • Gives the candidate a competitive edge

  • Showcases the candidate’s experience

  • Online accessibility


  • Longer than the traditional resume

  • May not be best for ATS

  • Not meant for all job seekers

Who should use a portfolio resume?

  • Creative professionals

  • Professionals with extensive experience

4. Targeted resume 

A targeted resume is different from all other resume types in that it is written specifically to address the open position, almost mirroring the job description.


With the continuous increase of competition in the job search, creating a targeted resume will help any candidate stand out in a sea of other applicants.


  • The most effective resume format

  • Increases a job seeker’s chance of capturing the attention of the reader and securing an interview

  • Gives the candidate a competitive edge


  • The targeted resume is so customized it takes more time to create

Who should use a targeted resume?

  • It can be used by all job seekers

Note: Some hiring professionals would argue that all resumes, regardless of format, should be targeted for the specific job being sought. 

5. Video resume

The video resume is a format that allows the job seeker to go beyond the paper resume format by creating a 30-second to 2-minute video as a supplement to the resume and cover letter.


This nontraditional resume allows the job seeker to introduce themselves to the hiring organization and gives the hiring manager a glimpse of the candidate’s personality.


  • Allows the job seeker to provide more content about themselves not in the resume

  • Gives the candidate a competitive edge

  • Demonstrates the candidate’s communication skills

  • Shows that the candidate is tech-savvy


  • Opens up the candidate to potential discrimination

  • Many are not comfortable with being video recorded

  • Not everyone is tech-savvy

Who should use a video resume?

  • Those required by the hiring company when applying

  • Those in the creative industry

Key takeaways

  1. The right type of resume will increase your chances of getting an interview and ultimately landing the perfect job.

  2. The conventional resume, also known as the traditional resume, consists of three different styles: Chronological, Functional, and Combination.

  3. The nontraditional resume breaks the ranks of the conventional resume style by offering the reader much more information to help promote the job seeker’s brand as the best candidate for the open position.

  4. Each resume style has its purpose, advantages and disadvantages, and who it will best be suited for when applying to an open position. It’s worth the time and effort to determine which format will work best for your situation.

Profile Earnest Robinson

Earnest Robinson

Earnest is a Career Coach (CPCC) and Resume Writer with expertise in providing professionals with the tools to effectively navigate the job search and prepare for a successful career. He has extensive experience leading HR and recruiting efforts. Earnest specializes in training, coaching, and mentoring career seekers on how to gain and maintain a successful career filled with purpose and passion, and he believes true career success comes from being holistically balanced.

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